Macaw Conservation Apprenticeship

The Ara Project’s goal is to ensure a sustainable population of macaws in Costa Rica, through restoring macaws to their historic range in Costa Rica, encouraging the protection of tropical forests, and educating the public to assure the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

This Apprenticeship will take place at The Ara Project’s main breeding and release center in Islita. This location has over 50 Scarlet and 50 Great green Macaws for breeding purposes and more than 30 Scarlet macaws in the wild.

The ideal apprentice will have a keen interest in conservation and wildlife issues on a population level and enjoy working outdoors, practical tasks, be good at communicating and good at working as part of a team.

What will I learn?
An apprenticeship at The Ara Project will provide the essential skills for a career protecting and maintaining the environment.

The different aspects of the program would include:

  • Training to monitor and independently take care of breeding pairs and their offspring;
  • Training to monitor breeding attempts in captivity and in the wild to ensure eggs and chicks have the best opportunity to survive;
  • Training to become a site manager, including managing the volunteers and opportunities of learning broader conservation skills like education, tours, communications, etc.;
  • Different general maintenance or development tasks may be assigned depending on our current needs and the skills and abilities of particular applicant;
  • An apprenticeship like this one will also help develop a professional working style, safe working practices, awareness of the work environment and communicating effectively with colleagues and partners.

What will the apprenticeship look like?
During six months, you will be completely immerged in the day to day running of a non-profit organization. We believe that a main part of learning, is doing and finally, teaching. Below you find a schedule of how the six months would be looking like:

Month 1 Captive macaw husbandry – Training on captive macaws management and monitoring of breeding behavior. You will be assigned with your own group of breeding birds, who you will be responsible for the rest of your stay. This month will be all for getting to know your birds and their behavior.

Month 2 Captive breeding management Part 1 – Training on breeding behavior and nest inspections. Monitoring of the day to day behavior of your birds and handle accordingly.

Month 3 Captive breeding management Part 2 – Training on chick handling. Depends on whether a baby has hatched in the group of birds that you are caring for, you will monitor the growth of the hatchling(s) during the rest of your stay.

Month 4 Wild population management – Field training on monitoring parrot nests from the ground and with rope access. Early morning nest watches and nest inspections to monitor breeding activity of the wild population.

Month 5 In the shoes of the Site Manager – Training on inns and outs of the roles of the Site Manager at The Ara Project. With guidance of the Site Manager, you will be partially running the site, managing volunteers and help with other tasks like finances and communications.

Month 6 Teaching – This month you will prepare weekly training sessions with the volunteers, where you share theoretical and practical knowledge that you have learnt.

The applicant covers their own flight ticket and arrange transportation to the site. Other costs for the applicant are travel insurance and food during their stay. The Ara Project will provide accommodation.

When should I apply?
These apprenticeships run annually from January to July. We only have three positions a year! The application deadline is September 1st. On October 1st we decide who gets accepted.

How to Apply

Please visit our website to apply for the position for 6 months or longer. Mention in your application that you are interested in the Apprenticeship.

For queries please contact Sarah Williams by e-mail at or by telephone on +50684086394.

Please mention when applying for this job!

Key Information


The Ara Project




Full Time


Entry Level


Environment, Nature & Wildlife, Sustainability


Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Application Deadline:

Not specified, apply soon.

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